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Law And Order (Season 1 Box Set) (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000049547
Added by: Sue Davies
Added on: 7/7/2003 02:29
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    Review of Law And Order (Season 1 Box Set)

    7 / 10


    This show has been running since 1989 on American television and remarkably this is its first DVD release. Possibly brought about by it emerging as a key show on the revamped Channel 5 or "Five" as we should now call it. Like other long-running shows it has also produced spin-off series.

    "Law and Order" or "catch `em and cook `em", is based around two halves that follow the whole case from the police investigating in the first half to the D.A prosecuting in the second half. Basically a three-hander in each section with two main leads in each and an elder statesman to explain where we (the audience) are going. Occasionally it breaks the format such as in episode "Violence of Summer" where the case is thrown out and back to the investigating officers.

    This DVD Box set comprises the first 22 episodes ever. Cue the self-explanatory title "The First Year". This has only previously been available on VHS format and seems to have been eagerly anticipated.

    There are some familiar faces here, in particular Chris Noth now perhaps more famous as Carrie`s "Mr Big" in "Sex and the City". Nothing about size in this show as it concentrates firmly on the police work with only a little of the personal seeping in to explain reactions to certain cases.

    Episode titles: Prescription for Death, Subterranean Homeboy Blues, The Reaper`s Helper, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die, Happily Ever After, Everybody`s Favorite Bagman, By Hooker By Crook, Poison Ivy, Indifference, Prisoner of Love, Out of the Half-Light, Life Choice, A Death in the Family, The Violence of Summer, The Torrents of Greed (Part 1), The Torrents of Greed (Part 2), Mushrooms, The Secret Sharers, The Serpent`s Tooth, The Troubles, Sonata for Solo Organ, The Blue Wall.

    Here`s a sample of subject matter in the series.

    Prescription for Death (the NBC pilot)- a death in a hospital A&E leads to an investigation when the team find out that the girl only had a cold.

    The Serpent`s Tooth-when two people are apparently murdered by their sons it is up to the team to look for another motive.

    Subterranean Homeboy Blues-the tricky subject of vigilante killings. In this case it`s a woman who fears rape and carries a gun.

    The Violence of Summer-features a cameo by Samuel L. Jackson and deals with another rape. In this case the woman is so traumatised by the incident she has blocked out her memories. The Prosecutors have to return the case to the Police to get some more evidence. If they don`t then three rapists will walk free.

    The series uses real case as background. Although the show is set in New York, cases are gathered from the legal systems around the country. It does not shy away from controversial subject matter such as the bombing of abortion clinics.

    The episode "Everybody`s favourite Bagman" was the pilot shown to CBS and rejected. It features (allegedly as I didn`t receive it) a lighter George Dzundza and a D.A played by Roy Thinnes rather than Steven Hill who was taken on when the show found its home at NBC.


    This show was deliberately shot on 16mm film to get the down in the gritty streets feel. In fact they were told by the labs " it was not of broadcastable quality". It is dark and moody but the pictures themselves are reasonably clean. It is shot intimately to generate a sense of sitting in on the cases.

    Bearing in mind this is a TV show over 10 Years old it is of watchable quality.

    Many of the locations are inside and could lead to a sense of repetition however the content of the scripts is good enough to overcome this.


    Heavily dialogue based you need to pay attention. The enduring theme tune turns out to be a Mike Post original. Along with Hill Street`s familiar tune this has thumped its way into the history books.


    On my discs-I didn`t receive the full set, alas. I was treated to the useful Featurette on how it all started and possible reasons for its longevity.

    As it turned out when I looked up to see what else was included it was a disappointment as the only other extra was a preview of the interactive game. I would love to have seen that because some how I can`t see it being as attractive as Vice City and Kill and Destroy (I think I made that one up…)

    Perhaps due to the lack of extras or perhaps because Universal are just nice guys it is priced at £ 44.99. You will find it even cheaper on the Internet.


    Having only occasionally managed to regain power over the remote control from another on a Saturday night I have rarely managed to see " Law and Order" on the television. What a treat it turned out to be. A full story neatly wrapped up in each episode. It sometimes falls over itself to show every viewpoint possible and this could prove problematic if the scriptwriters don`t keep a handle on which one is the bleeding heart Liberal, conservative or whatever. From the episodes I was lucky to watch I found it very tightly scripted and informative. It is one of the shows like "The West Wing" that demands your full attention, no putting the kettle on half way through. The camera work is not jerky or irritating in the way that later dramas seem to insist upon.

    If you like a gratifying and unpreachy crime drama then I strongly recommend this set. Presumably they will be pushing out ten years worth of the series on a regular basis. One note, don`t get too attached to the cast members as the faces change quite regularly through the years.

    If you are happy to pay less and receive more or less just the series episodes then this is good value. Bonus items are all very well but they can often hike up the price and offer little in replay value.

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